Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/179

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all the results of action which it has the penetration to perceive. First, then, I should say that William Laud has an unfailing claim upon the homage of English Churchmen, because he did much to fix the character of the system of the English Church. Some explanation is necessary to show how and why such a task devolved on him; and for this purpose I must ask you to follow me in a brief survey of the actual conditions which Laud had to face. The great religious movement of the sixteenth century produced a universal change, which affected all countries alike. It marshalled into opposite camps tendencies of thought which had long been antagonistic, though the antagonism had been humoured or suppressed. It swept away the dominant theology which had formed the groundwork for the abuses which provoked revolt. Post-Tridentine theology in the Roman Church owes more to Luther than to his scholastic predecessors of the fifteenth century. Everywhere there were changes, and it was difficult to foresee the final settlement in any quarter.

In England the limitations of change were at first clearly defined. They were—abolition of the Papal jurisdiction, remedy of abuses in the organisation of the Church which were due to that jurisdiction, greater simplicity and intelligibility in public worship. These corresponded with the fuller development of that national consciousness whose watchword had always been "England for the English". They corresponded with the political ideal of England's position, which first took a definite shape in the hands of Wolsey, and has ever since prevailed—-